5 Reasons Brands are Investing in Immersive Commerce

By Erika Lang, Head of the Americas, Journee

Ever wondered what happens when you combine the sales-driven UX of Amazon with the creative genius of Gucci? What would your product information look like if it was told as a story, instead of a legal requirement; written and shared with all the efficiency of your IG feed, but with the artistry of The Guggenheim?

These are the types of questions fuelling the evolution of Ecommerce, where technology, user experience, sales and design come together to make meaningful and memorable online experiences. This is immersive commerce (iCommerce) – a commercial experience geared towards Gen Alpha and GenZ; known for its rich, virtual spaces, iCommerce provides tangible business outcomes rather than a purely transactional 2D web experience.

iCommerce technology such as virtual reality and 360° video is already transforming the consumer experience. From fashion shows that allow consumers to preview collections on a 3D runway, to car manufacturers providing virtual configurators and test drives,  these new environments offer brands exciting spaces to innovate and interact with consumers in an immersive way.

Open and Accessible

Immersive web is platform-agnostic and therefore accessible to everyone.

Its inclusive nature meets consumers where they are, on desktops, mobile, laptops, and social media feeds, and can be fully integrated with existing consumer journeys. It doesn’t require a complete reimagining of a brand’s existing online presence.

Shoppers can now browse and purchase all within their everyday digital realms rather than, for example, clicking out of a gaming platform. Take Nike’s Airphoria Island in Fortnite as an example. Consumers can learn, hunt, play and purchase digital Nike items in-game without the need to leave and go to a separate online store. This is ideal from a UX standpoint and makes this new way of shopping wholly owned by both the consumer and brand. The brand has control of their owned and operated channels and the consumer decides how engaged they want to be.

Owned and Personalized

Brand-owned immersive experiences allow brands to not only control first-party data, but through tokenized and gated access, truly personalize the consumer experience. Consumers can choose what they want to share about themselves, for example personally identifiable information (PII) or what products they like.

The more a brand knows about a consumer, the more personalized and attentive the experience can be. Brands can create a sense of urgency to shop by using this data to group consumers and target them with product drops, as when  Tiffany’s targeted anyone owning a CryptoPunks NFT and sold their own tokens that could be cashed in for custom pendants of their art. The brand sold 250 of their own tokens for $12.5M – all because of data.

Phygital Value

Nothing can bring you closer to the physical boutique experience than iCommerce. By building an immersive shopping experience in 3D, brands bring the entire retail experience to life.

Gone are the days of seeing a sterile 2D image and the transactional interactions like putting an item in your cart. Brands are more than just an image, they are an emotion. By emulating and amplifying the physical experience, immersive commerce has ushered in ways for consumers to feel this emotion and create real life boutique experiences far more than in 2D. iCommerce allows for amplification of brand messaging and complements physical retail commerce efforts, making phygital the only worthwhile commerce approach to achieve a seamless consumer relationship value chain.

Brand Love and Loyalty

It’s natural an iCommerce experience would create a deeper consumer connection, personalizing digital shopping experiences all your own. It’s through these immersive moments that a brand can tell their story in a way that can’t be executed in 2D.

By including gamification, play, and even rewards, you are bringing your customer discovery and joy. These translate into deeper brand affinity, which lays the groundwork for increased loyalty.

Take Lacoste’s virtual world as an example. Anyone that held a token for their UNDW3 coin on Ethereum gained access to a secret world within their virtual store, where exclusive physical items were sold with free NFTs for every purchase.  These customized and selected brand experiences add additional value and make consumers come back, over and over again.

GenZ in Charge=Changing Consumer Behaviors. 

As technology evolves, so do consumer expectations. A 2023 McKinsey report found that “consumers are increasingly seeking more immersive brand experiences and demanding the ability to interact with products and brands before making a purchase.” This is part of the everyday for a core immersive GenZ shopper who already spends approximately 5 hours a day in immersive experiences.

Final Thoughts 

By investing in iCommerce, brands are interacting in a more engaging and collaborative way. This drives deeper customer engagement, which then fuels higher conversions, new revenue streams and improved ROI within this new set of behaviors for GenZ.

There’s so much more experimentation to do with iCommerce and being agile is key. Ultimately, the more engaging the experience, the longer consumers will spend with you, the larger their shopping carts will be, and the greater emotional connection they’ll build towards your brand in the long-term.